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James Cooke
James is a practice principal at Shore Dental, Sydney. His calm, confident and sympathetic nature makes him a popular dentist…

Ask-A-Dentist: What's The Deal With Tongue Piercings?

December 12, 2013 by James Cooke

Tongue Piercing

You may love them for their sartorial factor. You may loathe their existence. But are tongue piercings are risk to your oral health?

Fellow Sydney dentists, it's time to face the facts – the trend of body modification is never going away. Yes, that includes facial piercings – nose, eyebrow, lip, tongue – but the places to puncture yourself are getting more creative, with foreheads, cheeks, necks and more being added into the mix.

Dear patients, of particular worry to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is, at no surprise, oral piercings. The ADA, which represents 143, 000 members, has recently cited oral piercing as a public health hazard and is warning the public of the dangers of tongue piercing in particular.

Having your tongue pierced puts you at risk of painful damage to your teeth – consider, for example, the eighteen year-old who required repairs to six fractured teeth. However, that is not the only potential problem.

Tongue piercings can cause trauma to teeth (due to constant contact with a metal object), interference with chewing and speaking, foreign debris (such as food) getting lodged in the pierced site leading to infection and difficulty in breathing due to swelling from infection.

In addition to this, tongue piercings put you at a higher risk of oral infection, due to the inner tissues of the tongue being exposed. Tooth enamel can chip or become fractured from being constantly hit with metal, which may only be saved by a full crown – a costly process!

If you are considering an oral piercing, it is highly recommended that you consult with your dentist beforehand to identify areas of risk and that you are well-informed about future complications in order to make an informed decision.

To get in contact with your friendly dentist at Shore Dental, call (02) 8999 9505.